Thunder Over Augusta is returning to Evans on Saturday, and this year could involve real thunder.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of showers starting around noon Saturday, with a chance of thunderstorms late in the evening.
Activities for the patriotic celebration will run from noon to 10 p.m. at the park. Admission is free. Traffic will be diverted around the park starting at 8 a.m. Saturday to provide pedestrian access from parking at Marshall Square, with streets reopening at midnight.
Andy Jones, Donnie Thompson and Dale Phelon started the event in 2008 as a way to show the military appreciation.
“It’s a celebration,” event organizer Shane Thompson said. “They wanted to make it a special time for those veterans and the military to come out. It’s entertainment for everybody, but the military feels special that they are being appreciated.”
There are plenty of activities and entertainment on the schedule, including performances by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band at 6:45 p.m. Also performing are the U.S. Army Signal Corps Band, UGA Georgettes dance team, Team FMX Stunt Extreme Show and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office canine unit.
Show planes will fly over at 2 p.m., and skydivers will drop into the park at about 5:15 p.m. Numerous military vehicles will be on display, along with a military field hospital and satellite communications systems.
Visitors can get rides in an AH-1Cobra attack helicopter for $275 or a UH-1 Huey for $60.
“There are plenty of fun things for kids to do,” Thompson said. “The cool part is everything except the helicopter rides (and refreshments) is free.”
The posting of the colors, address and swearing in of new military recruits at 4:30 p.m. is a moving ceremony, Thompson said. The evening ends with a large fireworks display at 9 p.m.
The parking lot off Ronald Reagan Drive on the south side of the park will be reserved for handicap parking, with most parking located at Marshall Square across Evans Town Center Boulevard.
No coolers will be allowed, and those attending the concert are advised to arrive early and bring chairs or blankets. For more information, visit thunderover
augusta.com or see the event’s Facebook page.